Truck drivers must get enough sleep because drowsy driving could be as perilous as drunk driving.
This was revealed by the comprehensive drowsy driving study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the first of its kind to be conducted in the U.S., which analyzed dashboard camera footages of commercial drivers who drive on a daily basis.
The research revealed that the rate of crashes as a result of drowsiness “is 8 times higher than federal estimates.”
AAA’s researchers examined footages of drivers’ faces three minutes before a crash.
By measuring “the percentage of time a person’s eyes are closed to their level of drowsiness, researchers determined that 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness.”
According to AAA, however, federal estimates consider drowsiness as a factor in only 1-2% of accidents.
“Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show. Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk,” said AAA Executive Director Dr. David Yang.
The federation also said that the obstacles in detecting drowsiness following a crash make drowsy driving among “the most underreported traffic safety issues.”
The ELD mandate, which took effect in mid-December, seeks to minimize driver fatigue by enforcing hours-of-service rules.
The mandate requires non-exempt commercial motor vehicles to use FMCSA-compliant electronic logging devices.
Frank Lewis, a police trooper for Pennsylvania enforcing motor vehicle laws in the state, said drowsy driving is a critical problem in the trucking industry.
Lewis pointed out that a drowsy truck driver is at high risk of getting involved in an accident.
“The chances of crashing a commercial vehicle are much greater than a personal car.”
A vehicle with an ELD is considerably safer than one that operates without it.
The device makes sure a driver sticks to his hours of service limit, which ensures that drivers are always fresh when they are behind the wheels.
According to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimate, the ELD mandate would be able to save 26 lives and prevent approximately 562 injuries each year.
Matt Ivan, a commercial driver in Ohio, supports ELDs. He says, “It does the thinking for you. It will remind you when to take a break, not that you should need that, but it’s almost like having a passenger with you that says, ‘Hey, I’m helping you watch.’”
Are you using an electronic logging device to make sure that you and everyone else around you are safe?